Experiencing memory loss can make the world a bit more confusing at times. Sometimes we need to search for the words to express ourselves. Social events that used to be fun are now challenging. It’s easier to stay home and avoid any embarrassing moments. We worry about what others are thinking about us. But it gets lonely, and we miss being out.
The mission of Lakeshore Memory Café is to provide a comfortable and nonjudgmental environment in which persons with dementia, their families and their caregivers can interact and enjoy the company of others experiencing similar challenges. It provides an opportunity to learn, laugh and socialize with one another, whether it is in a small or large group setting. Activities offered at the monthly gatherings include exercise, discussions, creative projects, games, music, dancing and guest speakers.
A Brief History
The creator of the Memory Café is Dutch psychiatrist Bére Miesen. Dr. Miesen noticed that talking about dementia was often taboo, even among family members. In 1997, he introduced the Memory Café in the Netherlands. Since then, Memory Cafés have sprung up across Europe, Ireland and the United Kingdom.
The first Memory Café in the Untited States was established by Dr. Jytte Lokvig in 2008 in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The American version focuses first and foremost on the person. It’s a celebration and a respite from the memory disorder.
Dr. Lovkig’s Santa Fe Café remained the only one in the northern hemisphere until a notice in the AARP Bulletin in April 2011 brought the concept to the attention of the greater eldercare community.
Volunteers are welcome to serve on the steering committee or facilitate meeting activities. Experience with dementia is not essential, but the desire to assist others in a caring and supportive manner is. We particularly encourage people with early or middle stage dementia to join the steering committee, as their input is of immense value. Each of us is impacted by dementia differently. There are many ways to assist.
There is no charge for participation, although donations are welcome. Anyone who requires assistance to participate must be accompanied by someone who can provide that support.
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